AN unmanned level crossing in the Test Valley could be closed permanently.

Network Rail is planning to close 500 crossings across the UK during the next five years and officials are looking at the long-term future of one about 500 yards west of Mottisfont & Dunbridge Station level crossing on the B3084.

The crossing is on the Romsey to Salisbury line and it is used by pedestrians walking Mottisfont Footpath 10 – a public right of way between Hatt Hill at Mottisfont and Butt’s Green in Lockerley.

It is also used by farmers and Southern Electric engineers to access a power substation next to the crossing.

Officials are currently reviewing safety at all level crossings and a spokesperson said: “Level crossings are the railway’s single biggest are of risk. While we can have some control over them, through warning systems and signs, we still rely on untrained members of the public making the right decisions. While introducing safety systems and upgrading certain crossings can reduce risk, the only way to completely remove that risk is to close them.”

He added: “That said, the closure of the footpath crossing in Dunbridge is by no means a foregone conclusion and we will consult fully. It is certainly one that we would like to consider for a diversion. We have a responsibility to everyone who uses our crossings, from children to older people and we are committed to improving their safety.”